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Despite short shopping season, retailers expecting good sales

Fewer shopping days in the lucrative weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas doesn’t worry most area retailers.

This year there are only 26 days between the two holidays, the shortest time possible and something that occurs every seven years. Last year retailers had the maximum number of days — 32.

Christmas shopping, which usually kicks off following Thanksgiving, varies in importance for retailers. Michael Baker, owner of Patrick Baker and Sons religious supply store in Southington, said the holidays are important, but not absolutely critical.

Customers have been shopping steadily all year, although purchases haven’t been as big as in recent years.

“They’re not spending quite as much as in the past,” Baker said.

For Dana Reig, owner of AJ Canelli’s Jewelers in Wallingford, the fourth quarter is vital with Valentine’s Day sales a distant second.

“It’s huge for us,” he said. “That’s why we’re here.”

Weather or economic uncertainty can have an effect on shopping, Reig said, as well as the calendar.

“It’s a little bit of a concern,” he said of a shorter shopping season.

Thus far sales have been good for AJ Canelli’s. Customers have been shopping early, “even men, which is impressive,” Reig said.

Sean Moore, director of the Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce, said the business climate is improving and a late Thanksgiving shouldn’t hurt retailers.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a major difference,” Moore said. “Whenever it falls, Thanksgiving is the official kickoff of the season. (Customers) are actually buying now regardless of the day when it falls.”

For Laurie Acosta, who opened Red Owl Jewelry and Gifts in Cheshire in May, this year will be the first holiday season. She knows it will be important although she’s not sure what to expect with a shorter holiday season.

“I’ve anticipated the majority of our sales to be during the holiday season,” Acosta said.

She’s planning on hosting events, exhorting customers to buy local and offering unique gifts to “keep up with the more traditional stores.”

Holiday shopping is important but not critical to Ramani’s Clothiers in Meriden, according to owner Steve Ramani.

“When you lose a day to snow or a day like this, it’s tough to make up,” he said. “People will end up shopping online.”

jbuchanan@record-journal.com (203)317-2230 Twitter: @JBuchananRJ



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